#KeepItOn: Open Letter To The Chadian Government On Blocked Social Media
Blocking social network in Chad is a severe violationof Chadian citizens’ civil liberties!
Open letter to Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke
Copy to Minister of Post and ICT,Mr.MahamatLouaniGaodi
Mr. Prime Minister,
According to reports we have received from thousands of Chadian citizens, more than 300,000 Chadian Internet users are affected, since February 2016, by recurring and extended violations of their freedomto express themselves, to communicate, access and share information on the Internet.
These violationss include the blocking of certain sites and applications, inaccessible from Chad: social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Internet messaging apps like Whatsapp or Viberare concerned.
Such blockages are not technically possible without intentional filtering of online content available from Chad.
Several sources already claimed in February 2016, prior to the first blocking of Facebook during demonstrations in support of raped Zouhoura, that the government had studiedwith operators the “feasibility” of blocking some sites and social networks in the country.
Such practices are contrary to the international commitments signed by the Republic of Chad on freedoms. We will only mention the main texts:
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the right of everyone to freedom of opinion and expression, which includes the right to receive and impart, regardless of frontiers, information and ideas through any media whatsoever;
Article 33 of the Constitution of the International Telecommunication Union recognizes the right to correspondwith international public correspondence service.
On 1 July 2016, UN’s Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in Geneva in which the Council affirms that Human rights that apply in the non-virtual world must be applied with the same strength in the cyberspace. Above all, the Council strongly condemns“theintentional measures to prevent or disrupt access or sharing information online.“
Since February 2016, freedoms of Chadian Internet users are illegally violated, in total contradiction with Chad’s International commitments, and regardless of principles of necessity, proportionality and legalitythat must govern any decision to restrict access to the Internet.
As Civil Society Organizations, we are concerned about obstacles to Internet access faced by Chadian citizens, and join the call by the Associationfor the Defense of Consumer Rights (ADC) (fr) requiring mobile operators, Internet service providers, the regulator and the Chadian government to restore access to social networks and put a definitive end to practices that violate freedom of expression and communication.